Parents urged to share experiences of Norfolk maternity services
PUBLISHED: 09:23 13 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:23 13 February 2013
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New mothers and fathers, along with midwives, doctors and nurses have been urged by a Norfolk MP to share their experiences of NHS maternity services in the county.
South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, a member of the House of Commons public accounts committee, made the call after the National Audit Office asked him for his views on NHS Maternity Services.
With the government spending £2.5bn a year on maternity services, including £400m to cover the cost of litigation, the audit office plans to publish a report in the autumn looking at how the NHS provides the service.
Mr Bacon said: “I want to make sure the National Audit Office’s examination of maternity services has a large input from new mothers and also from NHS staff.
“This is your chance to help shape an important national review of how NHS maternity services are performing. I am keen to hear from mums, dads, midwives, doctors and nurses from Norfolk and across East Anglia.
“By sharing your experiences with the National Audit Office, you will help to produce a far stronger report. This report will help MPs not only to give credit where it’s due, but also to draw specific areas of concern to the attention of NHS bosses.
“Time is short, so if you would like to share your experiences, good or bad, please do get in touch by the end of February. All submissions will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
The EDP reported in January how an increase in the birth rate had put strain on maternity services in the county, with some hospitals forced to close wards because they were full.
Figures from a Freedom of Information request showed the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital closed its maternity ward 15 times last year and turned away 34 women in labour.
Pregnant women were diverted to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston or delivery suites 40 miles away to have their babies.
The maternity ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, was closed 14 times to new admissions in 2012, according to the figures.
Officials from both hospitals said they were investigating ways to increase capacity by recruiting more midwives and expanding maternity wards after experiencing a year-on-year rise in births.
To share experiences of maternity services at any of the region’s hospitals, contact Mr Bacon at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting ‘maternity services’ in the subject line. People should make sure they provide their full contact details and the name of the hospital they are writing about.